What this Free Vermicomposting Manual Can Do for You
If you have an interest in working with composting worms, this manual can provide you with the following:
- A quick course on the basics of growing worms and using them to produce vermicompost. This includes lists of bedding and feed stocks, optimum environmental conditions and how to maintain them, troubleshooting hints, methods of calculating population increases and product quantities, etc.
- An overview of vermicomposting systems. These range from simple windrow systems to the flow-through systems used in the United States to produce high-quality bagged product for the home-gardening market. Basic descriptions and instructions are included.
- A summary of what is known regarding the value of vermicompost. This summary includes information from the literature as well as data gathered by OACC and NSAC through recent plant-growth trials.
- Information on the inherent value of the worms themselves, both in agriculture and as a source of protein for animal feed.
- A discussion of opportunities for farmers to make money with worms. Examples of successful on-farm businesses are presented, along with some guidelines on the pitfalls associated with the business of vermicomposting.
- An overview of environmental considerations. The environmental pros and cons are discussed; in particular, the potential for mitigation of climate change is considered.
- Criteria for opportunity assessment. This is a series of questions and associated criteria for farmers to use in assessing the opportunities associated with worms.
- A resource list — credible sources of information on vermiculture and vermicomposting.
OACC believes that the reader should approach the entire concept of working with composting worms with a pragmatic bent and a skeptical mind. While there do appear to be significant opportunities, there also appears to be a lot of hype. In addition, the vermiculture industry in the United States has a 40-year history of scams and pyramid-style buy-back schemes that have relieved many innocent but naïve people of their life savings. This manual has been designed to help the reader get an accurate sense of what worms can offer a producer, what levels of effort and resources are required, and what associated risks are involved.